Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Law should guarantee neutral military: expert

Law should guarantee neutral military: expert

Military personnel line up before the commencement of a training exercise in Kampong Speu in 2014.
Military personnel line up before the commencement of a training exercise in Kampong Speu in 2014. Heng Chivoan

Law should guarantee neutral military: expert

Outspoken legal expert Sok Sam Oeun has called for the military to distance itself from politics – a separation he says should be enshrined in law.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Sam Oeun wrote that for a “strong democracy” the armed forces should be banned from joining a political party.

“When the law allows the military to be members of political parties as well, it means the military takes part in politics, so the military won’t be neutral,” he wrote.

Reached yesterday, Sam Oeun clarified that military members would still be able to vote in elections, but should not be card-carrying party members, to keep their role independent.

“If they want to do politics, they should resign,” he said.

The comments come amid repeated admonishments from high-ranking security officials to guard the government against “colour revolutions”.

Sok Ey San, CPP spokesperson, however, said the armed forces were already neutral.

“In case there are political parties or any forces that want to overthrow the legal elected government, in that case armed forces will defend the government,” he said.

But independent rights consultant Billy Tai said that although the army is generally seen as “very much aligned with the CPP”, enforced separation “would be a band-aid solution”, likely offering the appearance of neutrality without addressing underlying biases.

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the